Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

Travel Forums North America Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

1191. Posted by DaveinMD (Full Member 199 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

It's the way the world is now, not unexpected.

1192. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I'm not convinced this will affect the majority on this forum - it's more around preventing terror suspects from entering the states. The U.K already shares this with the US. I don't think they would be ask for all criminal data as this is against lots of data protection laws, and may expose vulnerable adults or under 18s who have committed crimes due to mental issues.

I think if your name is Mohammed and you've been to the Middle East recently though you'll start having problems.

I understand why the Us wants this for sure, but it's a sad world we live in :(

1193. Posted by Mike1990 (Budding Member 15 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hey everyone. Just thought I'd share a success story as there isn't too many of them on here.

A while back I wrote on here that I had a criminal record for abh from back in 2010 and seeked advice on what to do as I had already answered truthfully on an ESTA so was denied so essentially my only option was to apply for a visa.

I started this whole process back in February and I have only just been granted a visa. I had to wait 3 months until my visa appointment and then another 7months for the visa to be granted.

Although the visa only lasts a year, and then I have to go through the whole process again, I'm still grateful for being granted one.

I do have a question if anyone knows the answer..

When I travel to America, do I need to fill in any special documents or anything or can I just travel with my passport which has the granted visa in it? Or do I have to take other documents with me?

Thanks in advance, Mike.

1194. Posted by Parobolla (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,

I am travelling to Japan in 2 days time to meet my Fiancee's parents however like the US etc they do ask about convictions and based on everything I have seen, it appears that I have the worst kind.... Essentially I have to go and try my luck as we are getting married in August next year (in Thailand which will be fine) and really need to meet them before we tie the knot.

4 years ago I was arrested for possession of MJ (I literally had 1.5grams...) and possession of utensils (a pipe). Now based on what I know reading from the internet I can summarise that:

- Applying for a VISA to Japan is pointless as a drugs convictions will ensure you are instantly declined.
- Unless you do something that makes them suspect you at the airport than they won't know that you have a criminal conviction unless you are either on a watch list for terrorism, have spent over a year in jail or tick "Yes" to convictions on the landing card.

I am not stupid and know that I have the convictions however the penalty was only a fine so my plan is to feign ignorance and if it does flash up on their screens that I have convictions then I will simply answer truthfully that the only outcomes have been fines thus I felt no need to tick "yes" (dont lecture me on the row of shitcans this can produce).

What has me worried is the articles (linked below) I have read around sharing criminal convictions and in particular drugs ones, although here it is literally one of the lowest types of offenses, I am worried that when I am finger printed that it might show up as Japan is connected to the US system. Or maybe my passport carries that info on it? I have no idea...

Keen to see what peoples thoughts are, I haven't been able to sleep as it is close to D-Day but am determined to give it a go and just assume everything will be ok. (if not I guess I tried....)

I am from New Zealand (with an NZ Passport) and will be travelling with my Fiancee (who is Japanese)

UPDATE: Its flagging me for spam so I have removed the articles but if you search google with "NZ sharing criminal records with US" and "agreement between Japan and USA fingerprints" you will see the top two articles are what I am reffering to.

Appreciate any further advise or insights? Anyone had any luck with Japan at all?

Thanks for the help :).

- Parobolla

P.S. I am flying in to Fukuoka if that makes any difference.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Dec-2015, at 21:52 by Parobolla ]

1195. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Sorry dude I can't really help with this - this is a forum for those traveling to the US.

In the UK you don't need a visa to visit Japan. It's barbaric that the victimless crime of smoking some hash can mean you can enter a country but that's how it is I guess.

Kind regards


1196. Posted by anonymous123 (Inactive 14 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!


Having been to Japan recently they do fingerprint and take a photo of you at immigration. I suspect this is possibly more for their own usage and immigration purposes - eg. checking against Japanese databases as opposed to international/UK ones. Also, even though NZ shares stuff with the US, who also happens to share its info with Japan, I'm more inclined to say that unless there is a bilateral deal between NZ and Japan (you haven't mentioned where your crime took place, but I'm guessing it was in NZ?) arrests and convictions shouldn't be shared between the two. Think of it this way, if Japan really could get hold of NZ criminal records through its bilateral agreement with the US, then according to this logic there'd be sort of a cycle of criminal records being shared (eg. say the UK and USA share information, all countries with agreements with either of these two would get access to records from BOTH countries, and so on...). I'd say you'd be fine with ticking no, but THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION ONLY. As I'm sure you've noticed, there's no definite answer to these questions.

1197. Posted by Parobolla (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hey Annon - thanks for the reply :-).

Yep it was in NZ and based on what I have read if you tick yes, I believe you have to help supply info (even to aussie).

I have read as much as I can and everything points to it being ok but I guess I will find out!

I shall report back on how it goes - conviction was in NZ. The main thing I have realised in this is that its crazy how paranoid you can get about big brother and them having access to you and your data lol :(


1198. Posted by jetset2015 (Budding Member 9 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hi all, some info about the interview at the embassy.

Brief history:
Arrested in UK in 2005, cautioned for possession of MDMA and cocaine.
Applied for US visa and attended the interview last month (location was not in Europe though).
Visa issued after the interview.

I had read all of the articles here and really was prepared for the worst. I dressed smartly, took all the bank statements, proofs of good character (educational certificates, voluntary work certificates etc).

I arrived in good time and waited around 30 mins in a holding area before being called to the front window. They confirmed my appointment and that I had paid for the visa. After that, I had all my possessions checked going through the security scanner (they take your car keys, house keys, phones etc at this point) and then proceeded to the waiting room to be seen.

After another 10 minute wait, I was called forward. There were 4 booths with the person behind a glass screen (meaning everyone can hear your conversation). They took my finger prints at this time and I was asked to take a seat and they would call me up again.

After a further 15 mins I was called up again and went to another side area with 3 booths (slightly more privacy but still clearly audible to anyone nearby). In truth, all of the worry and concern I had, all of the preparation and effort before really counted for nothing. I was asked when I had been arrested, where I had been arrested (they had the crimes in the application that I had completed online) and they confirmed with me who my employer is (I was not asked to provide a police certificate or any proof of the outcome of my arrest). I was intent on showing all the documentation but the lady wasn't too concerned with any of it. She checked her system and asked her colleague but said that because it was over 10 years and no conviction then she didn't expect it to be a problem. I would had to leave my passport with them for a few days and collect it afterwards (bare that in mind if you have other immediate travel plans or if that happens at other embassies)

So in short, yes prepare well as you never know what could happen - better to be prepared than not. Dress smartly and be patient with the security checks you have to go through (4 in total I think). But if the experience is anything like mine, your fate will more than likely be decided by the facts around your arrest (time since arrest, type of offence, whether you were cautioned or convicted) so in many respects, just do the basic preparation and give a good impression, it is unlikely you will be able to do much more than that to influence the outcome.

1199. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Keep in mind that your situation is somewhat different than many people posting here... a single conviction 10+ years ago for a non violent offence is pretty much a rubber stamp for a Visa.

That said thanks for detailing the process and have fun in the US.


1200. Posted by Nicjane113 (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hi, looking for some help on a trip to New York.
I am looking to travel from the UK to New York in November 2016, looking to book within the next couple of months but not sure what to do as my boyfriend has a conviction, possibly 2 I'm not sure following fighting on a night out - no jail time.
From various threads I have read, it looks like we could just apply for ESTA and not declare anything and go?
The only issue is that on investigating this a few days ago, I thought he would have to apply for a visa and began filling in the DS-160 form on their website to get the ball rolling. The only information input was his name and address - no passport info as I didn't have it to hand. The form hasn't been submitted, it just has the name and address info. Will they have the details which would then flag up on entering?
I have also read about applying for the police form for £10 but when I looked into this it says there are no convictions listed from Scotland which is where they would have been received. Therefore this would come back blank?
Is it ok to just apply for ESTA and hope for the best or go down the visa route and more than likely be refused?
Thanks for advance for any help